Open Service Innovation: BOSCH Launches OI Community Dedicated to Auto Mechanic Services

Photo courtesy of Bosch, all rights reservedBosch, one of the world's leading suppliers for (professional and personal) electronics and tools, has taken another interesting step in opening their innovation process

Bosch is not a new player in this field, already providing a general idea plattform where you can both submit solutions to specific problems and get the chance to send in and present your very own revolutionary idea for the next big product (enhancement). 

Now Bosch has taken things one step further. Seeing how automotive componentes and electronics are a major branch of their business they decided to go where problem-knowledge and improvement-ideas are most likely to be found: with the professional employer of Bosch's tool, the mechanic. 

In light of this realization, Bosch has recently launched the Bosch Open Innovation Plattform, specifically dedicated to professional garages and their employees. 

The concept of this community (which is so far in German language only) is twofold: The core-piece is a forum where professionals can discuss problems they may encounter during their work with Bosch's tools as well as exchange tips and tricks with colleagues from all over the nation (and the world, provided they understand German). Dedicated Bosch staff is also present on these forums so a direct interaction with company representatives is possible.

Next to this the plattform features an "Idea" section in which users (upon free registration) can submit their ideas about product enhancements and new solutions that they deem helpful/ necessary to better employ the company's products in "real life". Browsing through already submitted ideas is possible without registration. And of course you can submit ideas on how to improve the plattform itself (there even is an own section for this topic). 

A complementary "News" section is used by the company to transmit additional information deemed valuable for their target group. 

So far Bosch's concept seems to be rather successful with 400+ registered users and already 72 submitted ideas as of today, ranging from improved knowledge databases to concrete improvements of software provided by Bosch. It will be very interesting to observe where this communty of experts will go and which concrete outcomes it will produce. In any case a very good example of open innovation employment beyond "just" putting another idea website out there and wait. 

About the Author:

Frank T. Piller is a Co-Director of the MIT Smart Customization Group at the MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and a chair professor of management at the Technology & Innovation Management Group of RWTH Aachen University, Germany, one of Europe’s leading institutes of technology. Before entering his recent position in Aachen, he worked at the MIT Sloan School of Management (2004-2007) and has been an associate professor of management at TUM Business School, Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Frequently quoted in The New York Times, The Economist, and Business Week, amongst others, Frank is regarded as one of the leading experts on strategies for customer-centric value creation, like mass customization, personalization, and innovation co-creation. His recent analysis of the crowdsourcing business model “Threadless” (co-authored with Susumu Ogawa), an innovative crowdsourcing business model in the fashion industry, has been elected as one of the Top-20 articles in MIT Sloan Management Review.